New WA cattle indicator

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

Meat and Livestock has released a long-awaited WA cattle indicator with the promise of delivering greater accuracy for local markets.

The new Western Young Cattle Indicator was announced as part of the Esperance producer forum last week.

A WA indicator has been on the wish list of the local industry for years because it provides more accurate information based upon local comparative prices, rather than Eastern States indicators which are usually different to the local market.

MLA market information manager Ben Thomas said the new indicator would provide a direct comparison for WA producers against its equivalent in the east - the long-standing and widely quoted Eastern Young Cattle Indicator

"Our feedback from WA producers was they wanted a reliable marker of price that would be indicative of the market and could track price trends week-on-week and year-on-year, on itself," he said.

"We took that feedback on board and have now developed the WYCI, which will give producers a benchmark figure to determine the value of their cattle.

"By using the same parameters it can also be directly compared to the EYCI.

"This new indicator will provide WA cattle producers with a reliable indication and clearer understanding of the price movements in their market.

"We hope this will deliver greater confidence to producers when making livestock marketing decisions."

The categories of stock included in the WYCI will be the same as the EYCI, incorporating C2 and C3 yearling and vealer steers and heifers to all buyers.

The WYCI will be added to the suite of other cattle indicators already reported in WA by MLA, including feeder steer and pastoral cow indicators.

The data behind the WA and Eastern States indicators will remain separate standalone figures, in order to maintain a consistent data set for the EYCI, and make the WA markets more prominent.

MLA has been reporting on markets in WA since 2002 and also reports on the Muchea and Katanning sheep sales.

Borden cattle feedlotter Paul O'Meehan said the WYCI would be of most use to sellers rather than buyers.

Mr O'Meehan fattens about 14,000 head of young British breed crossbreed steers each year in his 3300-head feed yard.

About 30 per cent of his cattle are sold to Japan with the remainder to the domestic market, sold under the well-known Butterfield brand.

"The new indicator will offer my precise information for the seller," Mr O'Meehan said.

"If they could also bring out an app it would make it a very quick way to get information."

Mr O'Meehan said as a buyer it was critical to get more in-depth knowledge.

"I need to drill down the information I receive and understand breed, bloodlines, geography and breeder to make an informed purchasing choice," he said.

"To get this level of information I rely on my relationship with my buyer.

"My buyer can also discuss with me market competition between feedlotters, live export and the grass-fed market."

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